JerryRigEverything’s Zack Nelson is perhaps best known for his torture test of every notable new smartphone that comes to market. But for scientific purposes, he refuses to do drop tests because he considers them to be too random and have too many variables to become a scientific test. That said, there are just some phones that are so special that Nelson feels obliged to make an exception. Almost fittingly, one of those is Andy Rubin’s Essential PH-1, a phone advertised to defy all expectations. And not all of them in a good way.
JerryRigEverything very rarely does drop tests. The most recent one he did was with the Mi Mix, because of its ceramic back. He will most likely repeat it with the Special Edition Mi Mix 2 with a full ceramic unibody design. But while waiting for that to land, in his hands, not on the ground, the Essential PH-1 will have to suffice.
The Essential phone boasts of a ceramic back and a typical Gorilla Glass 5 front, sandwiching a titanium frame. The formula made the phone impervious to Nelson’s usual battery of tests (save for scratching the sides), making it one tough cookie. But that ceramic back is just begging to be tested even more. Ceramic is harder than glass, which makes it more difficult to scratch. But it is also more brittle than glass, which, in theory, would make it shatter more easily.
In practice, however, you have nothing to worry about accidentally dropping the Essential phone on its back. Dropping it face first, however, is a completely different story, one that doesn’t have a happy ending. Nelson notes that the results are inconclusive, but his first drop resulted in a shattered screen. The thin strip plastic surrounding the screen did nothing to help diffuse the force of impact.
The moral of the story is that you’ll probably want to put a screen protector on the Essential PH-1. Not to save it from scratches but to protect it from accidental drops. The good news is that a screen protector is the least expensive and least bulky protection you can add to a phone, so it’s not going to be much of a sacrifice.